Posted at 7:55 AM on June 1, 2005
by Bob Collins
Sitting in the bleachers (I refuse to call anything but a stadium's cheapest seats in the outfield anything but bleachers), when Juan Gonzalez came to bat last night on my birthday, I glanced at the scoreboard, I was actually surprised to see he has 434 career homers.
When did he have time to hit them?
Juan Gonzalez, simply stated, is a mutt. His visits to the disabled list (DL) are so frequent, that it's impossible to come to a conclusion other than the fact he intends to be there. He has not played more than 150 games in a season since 1998 and his last three years have been 80, 72, and 33 games played.
Gonzalez once was named to the All Star team and because he wasn't voted as a starter by the fans, he said "If I ain't startin', I ain't departin'" Now he's adding "I ain't playin' to that as well as "But I am gettin' paid."
This spring he was invited to the Indians camp and competed with Grady Sizemore for the starting rightfield job. Everything was great until late in spring training when the Indians decided to keep Gonzalez and send Grady Sizemore to the minors.
The next day, Gonzalez pulled his hammy and went on the DL. You can't get cut from a team off the DL. You can't get sent to the minors off the DL. And you have to get the full paycheck.
Well, recovering from a hamstring injury can only keep you out for so long. After 3 months, Gonzalez reported he was ready to go and so last night against the Twins, Gonzalez was activated and started in rightfield.
He came in in the first inning -- batting cleanup -- took two pitches from Carlos Silva and then grounded out weakly. Two steps out of the box he started performing the Juan Gonzalez Cha Cha, otherwise known as the "oh, shoot, I pulled my hammy." Back to the DL he goes.
Other thoughts on the game:
There. Two conspiracies. Now that Deep Throat has been unmasked, it's all I've got now.